California, struggling as so many US states are, will raise billions more starting this fall from auctioning off pollution credits to fossil fuel producers and polluters as part of their new “cap and trade” global warming law, reports Paul Rogers at the San Jose Mercury News. The amounts are potentially enormous: from $1 to $3 billion yearly both this year and next, and jumping to as high as $14 billion a year by 2015, according to the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office. By comparison, the state’s current budget deficit is $9 billion. But Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators face strict constraints on how they can spend the money. A long series of court rulings and ballot measures limit its use, probably only to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, major business groups are preparing lawsuits, arguing that the state cannot collect the money at all. Nonetheless, the governor is already planning to use the money to bolster financing of the bullet-train and high-speed rail project. Other wish lists include green projects such as renewable energy projects, bus systems and forest restoration. Making California cleaner and greener.
Windfall of cash could hit California treasury from global warming program. For the past 10 years, California has struggled with huge budget deficits and wrenching cuts. Suddenly, however, the state is poised to raise billions from an unusual new source: the proceeds from its landmark global-warming law. San Jose Mercury News http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_20348096/windfall-cash-could-hit-state-treasury-from-global